Nearly 40% of people looking for love online have been asked for money, according to a new survey by UK Finance’s Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. A whopping 57% of those asked for money said they gave it or lent it.

The campaign and the Online Dating Association are advising people on how to stay safe online around Valentine’s day, including tips on how to spot fake dating profiles and keep your money safe online.

As an Online Dating Association member, HubStars conducted research in conjunction with the ODA and the work they are doing regarding online safety around Valentine’s Day. 

We issued a survey to all English speaking members across our Platforms at the end of January, gaining just under three thousand responses in just a few days. We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this valuable research, helping us further improve online safety and awareness through greater insight into behaviour across our various online communities.

The survey findings suggest that dating members feel confident and safe enough to date in person around Valentine’s day, however, they still rely heavily on dating apps and sites to find a date over traditional methods. This is particularly true with female dating members with three-quarters of female respondents saying they would be using dating apps to find a date this Valentine’s day compared to just over half of male respondents.

The vast majority of our respondents have high levels of online safety awareness with 81% of respondents saying they wouldn’t send money to someone they have only met online. There is still room for improvement with a substantial amount of users (19%) that are willing to send money to people that have only met online. More alarmingly, 39% of female respondents would send money to someone they had only met online, in comparison to only 17% of males.

According to the ODA, the three most common reasons people were asked for money were: claiming they need money for an emergency (37%); to cover transport costs to visit you if they’re overseas (36%); to help them make an investment (29%).

We regularly provide our dating members with content on how to protect themselves online and avoid becoming a victim of scammers, with 77% of survey respondents being aware of site content such as blogs and articles surrounding online safety. We will be ramping up our efforts to target all members with helpful safety tips across our Platforms throughout the year.

For more advice on how to stay safe from scams, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website and the Online Dating Association set of resources.